Minneapolis (03-27-07): -- For the ninth consecutive year, a record was set for gifts contributed to serve the needs of the underprivileged during the Hennepin County Bar Foundation’s annual Bar Benefit. Over $97,000 was contributed to the Foundation, while the Volunteer Lawyers Network received almost $20,000 through their silent auction and raffle held in conjunction with the benefit. Courtney Ward-Reichard, chair of the planning committee, and Foundation President Paul Floyd express their thanks to all for their generosity.
The Bar Benefit, held Tuesday, March 13, at the Radisson Plaza Hotel, was an evening of fellowship, fun, and fundraising, enthusiastically supported by hundreds of members of the legal community, both bench and bar. In addition to providing financial support for legal services, the legal community also honors those who have distinguished themselves in pro bono work. Recipients of this year’s Pro Bono Publico awards were:
Thomas S. Fraser of Fredrikson & Byron (the Distinguished Service award, which recognizes overall commitment to pro bono service throughout a lawyer’s career);
The Hon. Thomas L. Johnson, chief judge of the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals (award for excellence in the public sector); and
Blake Shepard, a shareholder at Leonard Street and Deinard (award for excellence by an attorney from the private sector).
Also, seven law firms were recognized for their successful participation in the Pro Bono Challenge by providing pro bono services of at least 3% of their 2006 billable hours.
Founded in 1968, the Hennepin County Bar Foundation is dedicated to the mission of ensuring the fairness of, and accessibility to, the legal system by promoting public understanding and confidence in our system of justice. Toward this end the Foundation makes grants each year to community organizations involved in public legal education and the delivery of legal services to the citizens of Hennepin County. Almost $600,000 in grants have been distributed in the last decade, supported in large part by the Bar Benefit, as well as individual contributions from the members of the Hennepin County Bar Association.